As far as condiments go, mango chutney is one of the most complex and delicious. Combining sweet chunks of mango and savory spices, it is the perfect topping for meats, vegetables, or even with an afternoon snack.
It isn’t impossible to make your own mango chutney. When you reach into the fruit basket and find you’re out of mangoes, out of chutney entirely, or just don’t have the time to make some, you will find yourself in want of a replacement. What is a good substitute for mango chutney?
The best substitute for mango chutney is apricot preserves, as it will have the closest flavor profile to mangos. Peach chutney is also available and easy to make, rendering it a possible mango chutney replacement as well. For a whole new take, you could try cooked cranberries with lemon juice.
Substitutes For Mango Chutney
In most instances, the best substitute for mango chutney will take the form of stone fruit like apricots or peaches. They will even have the same yellow hue, meaning your overall meal presentation will not suffer from a lack of color. Most of these can be used right out of the jar, or mixed up with other ingredients to make a closer approximation.
Apricot jam or preserves will be your best bet when you find your mango chutney supply to be lacking. Their sweet tartness will add the same brightness you’re looking for by adding mangoes to a meat or vegetable dish.
You can either finely chop and then cook down apricots, reducing them with water, sugar, and lemon juice until they’ve become a more jamlike consistency. Let them cool, add any spices or salts you like, and they’re ready to top your favorite recipe.
If you are even shorter on time, apricot jam is sold in most grocery stores. It is easy to find, and will still make an excellent sub for mango chutney if you don’t have any. The tart sweetness will not be missed.
2. Peach Chutney
Peach chutney is made just the same way mango chutney is. While peaches can be less tart than mangoes, you will still find that sweet contrast that your recipe needs. Adding ginger will make it much closer to the familiar recipe.
Peach preserves or jam, either hand-made or bought in a jar, will also stand in nicely. Be sure to add in chili pepper flakes and a bit of minced garlic, so that you’re getting the same experience.
If you’re making your peach preserves from scratch, take the age of your peach into account. Peaches sweeten as they get riper, so a less ripened peach will make for a more tart jam.
3. Apple Chutney
Just like with peaches, apples have also had their turn being transformed into a delicious hot chutney. Just as with the other fruits on this list, you can either buy your chutney pre-made, or craft it up yourself.
Apple chutney is generally on the sweeter side than mango chutney, and it doesn’t have as much of a tang. If green apples were used, you will detect that sharp sour flavor, but where it will come in handy is the heat. Apple chutney is full of spices like ginger and cumin, and even cinnamon to round out the sweetness.
Making your own apple chutney is an option as well, that involves finely chopping and cooking down your apples with sugar, lemon, and spices. Apples are the most popular fruit in America, with over 10lbs per person sold in 2019, meaning you will be able to snag on most anywhere.
It isn’t recommended to use apple butter for this, as it will be much too sweet, and may not withstand the heat of a hot steak or crispy chicken dish.
4. Fig Jam
Fig jam is a summery alternative to mango chutney, with its honeyed sweetness and juiciness. Fig jam may be harder to come by than apricot or peach, but it will be available at farmer’s markets, and even at bigger grocery stores.
If you’re making fig jam at home, use less sugar and add in a bit more lemon juice. The reason for this is that figs are much sweeter than mangoes, and adding more may render it sickeningly saccharine. Lemon juice drives in more of the tartness you’d find in your mango chutney.
Once you’ve added in heat and aromatics, you should have a perfectly good substitute for mango chutney. Jarring up any leftover jam that you make will ensure that you have this substitute on hand whenever you need it.
5. Green Mango Chutney
If you just don’t enjoy the sweetness of yellow mango chutney, you can find a cousin of it not far away. Green mango chutney is much the same, however, it is made from unripened mangoes. That is what gives it a distinct green color.
Green mangoes are firmer than ripe ones, meaning there will be a firmer chew when you top your favorite grilled steak with it. It is also much more sour, and gets heat from cumin and mustard seeds.
Cranberries are a step in a different direction than your usual mango chutney substitute, but they’re actually not all that dissimilar. If you’re using mango chutney to top meat, or as a condiment on a charcuterie board, cranberries will do the trick.
How To Make A Mango Chutney Replacement With Cranberries:
- Set a cooking pot over medium heat, and fill it with two cups of cranberries. Taste test your berries first to see how tart they are.
- Depending on their tartness, add your sugars. If it’s so sour that you can’t bear it, you’ll of course want a bit more. Of course, if you prefer that bitter punch, only add enough sugar to let the berries reduce.
- Add in your lemon juice. You will only need a teaspoon, just enough to preserve the color of your berries.
- Let this mixture simmer over the heat until it is thickened, stirring occasionally. Add in your heat and aromatics. The traditional spices to add are garlic (either minced or powdered), ginger, cumin, mustard powder, and red chilis.
- Finely chop half an onion or a shallot, and let it cook for just a minute or two with your cranberries.
Once it’s thickened to your liking, your cranberry sauce is ready to dish out wherever you’d like it. If you’re adding it to a charcuterie board, consider adding a few fine slices of candied orange peel for color.
Cranberries are rather healthy, too; an additional benefit to using them as a substitute for mango chutney. Fresh cranberries are 87% water, perfect for getting rehydrated during the warm summer months. They’re also rich in vitamin C, and a splash of citrus will only help that stat.
If you’re in a pinch, you can make a melon condiment that will serve much the same purpose as mango chutney. You will want to use a melon like honeydew or cantaloupe; something denser than a watermelon.
Honeydew can be chopped finely and seasoned to make a delicious topping for meats or snacks. It might not be as saucy as a chutney, but you will still get a sweet and fiery kick that you could be looking for in a chutney.
Is Mango Chutney The Same As Mango Salsa?
They’re not exactly the same, but they are rather similar. The chief difference between mango salsa and mango chutney is that chutney has been cooked down more. Chutney is often compared more to a relish, while salsa is closer to a sauce. Though, both can have smooth or chunky varieties, so the lines could blur in some places.
Chutney is from India, and salsa originates with the Aztecs. Chutney will be focused on the sweet and sour, while salsa is meant to be much spicier. They’re seasoned differently and often utilize distinct ingredients.
However, you can still use mango salsa in place of mango chutney. Just know that the product will be spicier by comparison.
Mango chutney is a sour, sweet, and spicy Indian condiment with a myriad of uses. Top your meats with it, use it over brie cheese, or dip a slice of naan bread in it. If you’re allergic to mango, are out of your supply, or just don’t like it, you can still find plenty of delicious alternatives to mango chutney.
For example, apple, peach, or green chutneys are all perfect stand-ins for ripe mango chutney. You can also find satisfaction in apricot jam, fig jam, or a melon relish. The most important thing to remember when making a substitute is to balance your sour, sweet, and spicy flavors.